New Redistricting Maps Released
Every ten years Minnesota’s legislative and congressional districts are redrawn to reflect the population changes after the census. This process, known as redistricting, is the responsibility of the state legislature. However, if the legislature does not agree to a plan, Minnesota law requires the courts to carry out the process. Last year, the GOP legislature passed a proposal that did not have bipartisan support. The governor vetoed the plan and asked the GOP to work in a bipartisan manner with all stakeholders and pass one with broad support. This did not happen and the courts were directed to draw the new legislative district lines.
The judges on the Special Redistricting Panel hosted eight public hearings across the state to gather input from communities that will be represented within the new legislative districts. I believe the new legislative districts released this week by the courts are the fairest possible way to create electoral constituencies of equal population.
My Senate district has changed and after the November elections, I will no longer serve the people in Koochiching, Lake of the Woods and Aitkin Counties. It has been an incredible honor to represent those constituents for the last ten years. The people that live in those areas are devoted to trying to maintain prosperous rural communities and I hope my work in St. Paul for them matched their tenacity for our way of life. I never felt like I was far from my home in Grand Rapids whenever I visited Aitkin, International Falls, Baudette or any of the other cities in those three counties. We shared similar interests whether it was hunting and fishing, the timber industry or the land issues that will continue to challenge all of Northern Minnesota.
However, I am looking forward to the responsibility of representing the new areas of my district which now includes Bemidji, Walker, Cass Lake, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwa Reservation and the Chippewa National Forest. I am excited and honored at the prospect of serving these new constituencies and will do my best to work hard on your behalf.